56 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare

As You Like It

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1599

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Acts I-II

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Act I, Scene 1 Summary

As the play opens in a duchy in France, Orlando complains to his servant Adam about how his older brother Oliver has treated him since their father’s death. Oliver appears and the two almost come to blows. As Orlando grabs him, Oliver says, “Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?” (I.1.55). Charles, Duke Frederick’s wrestler, then visits Oliver to tell him that Duke Frederick has usurped Duke Senior. Duke Frederick has allowed Rosalind, Duke Senior’s daughter, to remain in court because she is a great friend to Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter. Charles explains how close the two ladies are, saying, “never two ladies loved as they do” (I.1.111).

Charles also tells Oliver that Orlando will be in court the next day to face Charles in a wrestling match. However, Charles suggests that this might disgrace Orlando. Oliver says that he has tried to dissuade Orlando from the match, but Orlando is too stubborn. Oliver warns Charles that Orlando might be treacherous during the fight. After Charles leaves, Oliver delivers a soliloquy about how jealous he is of Orlando’s natural talents.

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